Observations of particle growth at a remote, Arctic site


Observations of particle size distributions suggest that particles grow significantly just above the snow surface at a remote, Arctic site. Measurements were made at Summit, Greenland (71.38°N and 31.98°W) at approximately 3200 m above sea level. No new particle formation was observed locally, but growth of ultrafine particles was identified by continuous evolution of the geometric mean diameter (GMD) during four events. The duration of the growth during events was between 24 and 115 h, and calculated event-average growth rates (GR) were 0.09, 0.30, 0.27, and 0.18 nm h−1 during each event, respectively. Four-hour GR up to 0.96 nm h−1 were observed. Events occurred during below- and above-average temperatures and were independent of wind direction. Correlation analysis of hourly-calculated GR suggested that particle growth was limited by the availability of photochemically produced precursor gases. Sulfuric acid played a very minor role in particle growth, which was likely dominated by condensation of organic compounds, the source of which was presumably the snow surface. The role of boundary layer dynamics is not definite, although some mixing at the surface is necessary for the observation of particle growth. Due to the potentially large geographic extent of events, observations described here may provide a link between long-range transport of mid-latitude pollutants and climate regulation in the remote Arctic.


Earth Sciences, Earth Systems Research Center

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Atmospheric Environment



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